My 30 Day Challenge: This is Going To Be A Tough One.

So here’s the thing.

I’m a yeller. I was raised in a family of yellers. My family yelled when we were happy, yelled when we were sad, yelled when we were angry, yelled when we were having fun. We just… yelled. It was part of the family identity. Hell, it’s hard to find a family in my town of New Jersey that DIDN’T yell! It’s just what we did.

Thing is. I married a New Englander: a man who grew up in a family of Not-Yellers. And though I contributed DNA to our son in the form of coloring and eyes, he’s pretty much a carbon copy of his father in personality and temperament – with a little more chatter, maybe.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I yell far more than I’d like to. I yell because I struggle with patience. I yell because I struggle with having my words heard. And I yell because I swear to god there are days my words mutate in the milliseconds they hang in the air – by the time they get to Jeff and Owen, all they hear is: “Wah WAH, waah WAH.”

I am like a balloon that keeps inflating when this happens. I say it a little more passionately – while feeling, come ON! Just LISTEN TO ME!

And then all of a sudden I’m yelling. And I’m angry. And it’s effective, of course. Both Owen and Jeff listen to my words if they’re said angrily.

The problem is, I don’t much LIKE the emotional fallout of the yelling. I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I don’t like being angry all the time. I don’t yell at people at work – because it’s disrespectful. And I shouldn’t yell at home, either – at the people I love most in the world.

And yelling is not effective – honestly, if the only way my kid and husband listens to me if I’m yelling, what does that say about my communication skills? Not much that’s good, for sure.

Yelling is a bad habit, and I want to break it.

And via the beauty of social media, yesterday I stumbled upon the blog The Orange Rhino. And the author of the blog committed to 365 days of Not Yelling, and her experience with it is so eye-opening. I love how she blogs her struggles so honestly, and I love that she’s committed to making her family better.

I want to make our family better. I am so lucky to even HAVE this family, and they deserves better from me.

But I can’t do a 365 day challenge – it’s overwhelmingly long.

But what I’ve discovered with my running: it usually takes about a month for me to find my groove: that space where it doesn’t feel as hard. Where my muscles don’t hurt as much when I’m not running or running… and I stop THINKING about it. It becomes habit.

So I made the decision last night.

I am committing 30 Days of Not Yelling in June.

Except I’m starting The Challenge a weekend early, because that’s what I do. (I’m not kidding, either. I start my New Years Resolutions in November so they’re habit by January. Yes, I know it’s OCD and ridiculous, but I like getting a head start on resolutions. :))

I have the feeling that this is going to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve undertaken.

But I’m up for the it.

I’m blogging about it because I want you all to keep me honest. I want to share with you the ups and downs of my Not Yelling Challenge in the coming days and weeks. Because the act of writing this post commits me to it: it will act as a contract on the days where I need to scream in frustration.

There HAS to be a better way. I’m committed to finding it. Will you all help?

3 comments on “My 30 Day Challenge: This is Going To Be A Tough One.

  1. Deborah says:

    Funny, I discovered that blog today, too, through FB. And I was about to post a comment to the woman who shared it, but then I realized my comment would be way too long. So now you’ll get it, instead. 🙂 Because I totally agree, it’s good to yell less. But I also feel like there is soooo much pressure these days to be a perfect parent, and I’m just not sure *never* yelling is feasible (unless you’re one of those super-calm, conflict-avoiders, which I am NOT). We are all under a lot of pressure with work, kids, house stuff. I think it is really important that we forgive ourselves if sometimes we screw up and just lose our patience.

    Personally, what I’ve been trying to do lately is cut out the times that I yell at J because I have a crying baby, or I’m mad at K for something unrelated, or I’m stressed about grown-up things. That probably eliminates about 75% of my yelling, if I can do it. And it’s a good reminder to stop and ask myself “what am I actually mad about?” But NEVER yelling… I just don’t think I could do it.

  2. Turia says:

    I think it’s an awesome goal (but then I am a conflict avoider who shuts down instantly if anyone raises his/her voice at me). At the very least it will be a great opportunity to examine why/when/how you do yell.

  3. I’m Italian and a Taurus and while I don’t yell-yell (well, I do) I gesticulate wildly in addition to being animated.

    However, I also think that husbands (and boys) have a gene that helps them mute certain maternal voice frequencies. So, sometimes yelling is truly a product of not being heard.

    I wish you well with your goal. But, I challenge Jeff and Owen to be better listeners, too.

    I bought this plaque from Gilt that I’ve hung in our kitchen and it reads:

    Always tell the truth
    Work Hard
    Keep your Promises
    Try New Things
    Don’t Whine
    Laugh Out Loud
    Always Say I Love You
    Use Kind Words
    Do Your Best
    Be Grateful
    Be Kind
    Be Proud of Yourself
    Say Please and Thank You
    Remember You are Loved

    My older son is a rule follower and I hope this all helps us keep a happy home.

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